This week, InfoQ published an article about the first Certified Scrum Developer class held by Ron Jeffries and Chet Hendrickson a few weeks ago. There has been a lot of fuss from the people quoted in the article that it misrepresents them and takes things out of context.
Perhaps that is the case, as I wasn’t there. But having already read Dave’s feedback on the class that the article was based off of, it pretty much summed up what my interpretations of the class were – there were struggles, and there were challenges, but overall it was a good and worthwhile class to attend, and that they were being “certified” was secondary to the class.
Here’s the deal – most people, in my experience, don’t think of the certification as “secondary”. Which is why certifications like the CSD and associated CSM classes are designed for one thing – repeatability. The class I get from Ron and Chet should be the same as what I get from someone else. Sure, there will be local differences in instructors. But the certification itself shouldn’t be based on the skills of the instructor.
Think about it this way. In his post, Dave talked about how the teams were not able to deliver stories every sprint. These are some of the top coaches and agile people available. While a team struggling is no surprise, what we should be asking ourselves is this:
1) If the team struggled, how were they helped to understand that?
2) If they struggled, how many others would struggle, and be much worse?
3) In light of that, how many instructors could guide them back to where they should be while keeping it a teachable moment?
Certainly I trust that Ron and Chet are highly capable of doing that. And I’d recommend anyone to take a class with Ron and Chet. But here’s the rub – the CSD is *not* Ron and Chet. In fact, the CSD program is not even limited to being taught by CSTs! Yep, anyone can apply to teach it.
Of course, if you are a CST, you have priority access. But, get this – so do Microsoft “MVP’s” in “Application Lifecycle Management”. Yep, people who may not have even heard of Scrum or even practiced it can sign up to be a CSD instructor!
Seriously, what the heck? Are these ALM MVPs going to be able to lead a class of people through the exercises? Can they help with the finer points of adopting agile. Are we going to trust that they can certify people to be Scrum Developers?
And that’s the thing – I don’t question Ron and Chet’s class. Neither, I think, did the InfoQ article. As Vikas said in the closing sentence:
Hence, though there were some valuable learnings coming back from the first CSD course, however it seemed that the value and the nature of the CSD certification still leaves more questions to be answered.
Darn right the “value” and “nature” of the CSD should be questioned. It’s all roses right now, because we just see the tip. But the water they are growing in is filled with festering money-grubbers and clueless managers who will twist and exploit this to great delight. And if that’s not enough to stop us from certifying people in this, then it’s just because of the ray of sunshine shining on the pot of money that is blinding us from it.